Connersville mayor declares financial emergency

Public safety budgets will be reduced

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. - The City of Connersville is in financial trouble and the mayor said immediate cuts at the expense of public safety are necessary to get back on track.

Connersville Police Department Chief David Counceller oversees 20 officers that patrol the streets of Connersville to keep the city safe.

To get the job done, those officers ring up $12,000 a month in overtime at times. That is money that will not be available anymore.

"We're going to have to tighten up our financial strings on the police department," Counceller said.

Mayor Leonard Urban declared a financial emergency this week. He said it is a formal and necessary process to make immediate budget cuts. 

Urban said at the beginning of the year, the city had just over $2 million in its general fund, but by May, that fund will be reduced to just more than $14,000 unless changes are made.

That means no overtime for public safety, no money for new uniforms, a rationing of fuel costs and all city projects will be halted.

"Hopefully I don't have to lay anybody off, but that would be the next step here. We would lay people off," Urban said.

Urban says the financial problems in Connersville are similar to those in other communities.

Factories have left this area, taking with them taxpayer money that goes into the general fund.

State-mandated tax caps keep him from asking current residents to chip in more.

Counceller said they'll get by one way or another, even if he needs to get in a patrol car.

"It may be to the point at times especially if I have people on vacation that myself and my deputy chief, we might have to go out and work a shift," Counceller said.

Urban said the city will weather the storm one day at a time.

"We're going to make it. We'll be alright. I just feel sorry for the next mayor because I only have a year and half to go. The new mayor will have four years to go," Urban said.

Urban said while overtime cuts are necessary, he will approve overtime for public safety in an emergency situation.

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